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items tagged with Scarlett Johansson

The Needle in the Haystack: "Zero Dark Thirty," "Gangster Squad," "A Haunted House," and "Hitchcock"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-01-14 18:45:03

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark ThirtyZERO DARK THIRTY

As an orchestrator of cinematic suspense, Kathryn Bigelow might currently be without peer in American movies. The sequences of Jeremy Renner dismantling explosives in the director’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker were miniature masterpieces of sustained excitement; despite our knowing, through much of the film, that it was too early for Renner’s Sergeant William James to be killed off, each masterfully shot and edited act of bomb disposal vibrated with legitimate threat. In Zero Dark Thirty – Bigelow’s and screenwriter Mark Boal’s fictionalized docu-drama about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden – nearly every scene feels like a ticking time bomb. There is, of course, never any doubt about the narrative’s outcome, yet Bigelow’s gifts for composition and pacing ensure that you still watch the picture with rapt attention and dread. And blessedly, she’s also a spectacular entertainer. The movie is tough-minded and sometimes tough to watch, but even when Bigelow is fraying your nerves, she’s tickling your senses.


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Power Surge: "The Avengers " and "Bully"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-05-07 13:03:37

Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., and the Hulk in The AvengersTHE AVENGERS

Prior to its national release, the scuttlebutt on The Avengers seemed to be that the Hulk totally stole the show. Having now seen director Joss Whedon’s long-awaited, cinematic commingling of Marvel superheroes, I’m inclined to agree, because the angry green giant has been granted two fantastically unexpected, legitimately great moments in the film, and that’s at least one more than anyone else has been given.


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A Good Movie? Aye. A Great Movie? Neigh.: "War Horse," "We Bought a Zoo," "My Week with Marilyn," and "The Darkest Hour"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-12-27 20:22:12

Jeremy Irvine in War HorseWAR HORSE

A grandly scaled adventure about a boy who gets a horse, then loses the horse, then joins the British infantry to find the horse, War Horse is the sort of triumphant, lump-in-the-throat epic that director Steven Spielberg should be able to pull off in his sleep. Consequently, the highest compliment I can pay the movie is that its helmer, at all times, appears to be fully awake here. There’s palpable filmmaking energy in nearly every shot, and several passages in this World War I family drama are so thrilling and painful and spectacularly well-choreographed that they rank among the finest in Spielberg’s career.


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Isn’t It "Iron"-ic?: "Iron Man 2" and "Babies"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-05-09 21:35:17

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2IRON MAN 2

As expected, the rocket-fueled title character flies across the screen pretty damned quickly in director Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2, but this might be the very first comic-book movie to boast dialogue that zips by even quicker. By now, summer-blockbuster crowds are so used to being wowed - or, for some of us, "wowed" - by pricey visuals and gargantuan action set pieces that the true thrill of Fevreau's and screenwriter Justin Theroux's sequel comes as both a relief and a shock; how on earth did Paramount (thankfully) agree to shell out some $200 million for what is, in essence, an updated take on a '30s screwball comedy? The climax in which our metal-plated superhero takes on more than a dozen artillery-laden robots is enjoyable enough, I guess, yet in terms of actual celluloid magic, it doesn't hold a candle to the sight of Iron Man 2's Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow arguing over whether Latin is, or is not, a dead language.
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Save the Dates: "He's Just Not That Into You"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-02-11 03:56:53

Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, and Jennifer Connelly in He's Just Not That Into YouHE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU

With its nine central roles, dovetailing narratives, and 129-minute running length, He's Just Not That Into You is like a chick flick on steroids. Based on a jokey "self-help" book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, director Ken Kwapis' comedy concerns the romantic tribulations of a bunch of young (or young-ish) hotties in present-day Baltimore, and it's all pretty easy to pick apart; the characters are too archetypal, the plotting is too convenient, and none of the movie's frequent dating advice is as insightful as it clearly wants to be. Even that "present-day" aspect is problematic, as the film, completed in 2007, finds a character hooking up through MySpace, for Pete's sake.


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